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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day and neither is my wife. Our annual tradition is to go to McDonald’s for dinner (replaced with In ‘n’ Out once it came to the Valley—no sense slummin’ it) and not exchange gifts.

I have always believed that every day should be Valentine’s Day. You shouldn’t have just one day where you express your feelings towards your loved ones: you should do it at every opportunity. They’re your loved ones for a reason.

We also don’t like being told what to do. Hallmark et al have convinced many women and men that a card is the bare minimum, flowers are a nice touch, and gifts are perfectly appropriate. Such things are not expressions of love in and of themselves; you can’t be cold and distant all year yet expect a gift of flowers to tide your lover’s heart over.

As far as holidays go, honoring love is certainly a great reason to have one. Love is one of the highest values you can achieve and not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that I married the amazing woman that I did. Unfortunately, most people have a pretty wrongheaded view of love: they believe that the best kind of love is the one commonly called “unconditional.” Suggesting that someone loves you no matter what is exactly the opposite of the kind of love displayed and celebrated on February 14th.

I heard an interesting observation about Valentine’s Day on NPR today. Some psychologist type was saying that we should morph Valentine’s Day from a celebration of love to a celebration of being worthy of being loved. I like that way of looking at it since it casts it into a sort of annual re-evaluation of your attitudes, behaviors, and feelings on the subject of love and those who you’ve given it to. Anything that inspires us to better ourselves, to inch ever closer towards moral perfection is dandy in my book.

To that end, I have to ask you, “Are you being the best husband/wife/partner you can be?” If you’re not, then you have to look at your relationship objectively and figure out where you’re messing up.